Meanjin Editor Goes Offline

Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham

Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham

Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham will leave the literary journal at the end of this year and, according to Jason Steger’s report in the Age, the change is based on a further move online.

As well as an unnamed source, Steger quotes Melbourne University Publishing chair Alan Kohler as saying “I would say that any publication that is not online in this new era is missing out. But it’s also true that anything that is exclusively online has its difficulties.”

The departure of Cunningham though marks the end of a great era online for Meanjin which included a re-vamped website that included content from current and back issues as well as an increased presence for the journal on social networking. And while Cunningham herself is not commenting on the story, Twitter is vocal in support of her editorship.

Sydney-based novelist and food writer Charlotte Wood tweeted her shock “OMG @sophiec is leaving Meanjin!??? When did this happen!? What are we to do?? You have done an amazing, amazing job there & will be MISSED!” Overland journal acknowledges the Meanland partnership the two journals have forged by saying “It has been a pleasure @sophiec (and the lit mag scene will miss you)”.

Peter Craven took the longer view referring to previous problems for the literary journal saying “it was only a couple of years ago that we were fighting to preserve the independence of Meanjin from Louise Adler’s empire at MUP”. But Craven’s main concern is that the internet will swallow one of Australia’s great literary journals. Craven writes “No one who cares about the literary and intellectual history of this nation wants this to disappear into the evanescence of the internet.” For Craven the physical format of the magazine is the future and “anything else will be barbarism.”

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